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lations and perversions were obviated, of which the fancies of an ignorant people, predisposed to idolatry, would not have failed to take advantage.
“It is unnecessary to enter into the question respecting the connection between the name of Thôah, and the nature of man, as represented in the second chapter of Genesis; but I have considered it proper, in noticing the adoption of the two, Elohim and Ihôah, to show the possibility of the Egyptian notions of a Trinity having been derived from early revelation, handed down through the posterity of Noah; and I now proceed to mention some other remarkable coincidences with scriptural data.
“Of these, the most singular are the character of Osiris, and the connection between truth and the creative power. In the latter, we trace the notion, which occurs in the Christian belief, that the Diety“ of his own will begat us with the word of truth;” and not only do the sculptures of the earliest periods express the same, and connect the Goddess of Truth with Pthah the creative power, but Iamblichus also, in treating of the ancient mysteries, asserts it in these words : • Whereas he makes all things in a perfect manner, not deceptively, but artificially, together with truth, he is called Pthah; but the Greeks denominate him Hephæstus, considering him merely as a physical or artificial agent,' and not looking upon him, as they ought, in an abstract or metaphysical light. But the disclosure of truth and goodness on earth was Osiris; and it is remarkable that, in this character of the manifestation of the Deity, he was said to be 'full of goodness (grace) and truth,' and after having performed his duties on earth, and fallen a sacrifice to the machinations of Typho, the evil one, to have assumed the office in a future state of judge of mankind.”
Enough, however, has already been said to show the pure origin, and the perverse corruptions, of the Egyp
tian creed. Refined, poetical, and highly symbolic in its lofty ideal; yet practically sensual, corrupt, and debasing, degrading the human soul to the worship not only of stocks and stones, but of hideous and repulsive reptiles, of four footed beasts and creeping things. It retained to the last traces of its pure origin, and it is even possible that there were never wanting some among the priests of Osiris, who saw in some degree into the spiritual nature of its rudimentary ideas, and discerned some practical meaning, and even some incitement to virtue, in its doc. trine of final retribution. To the great mass of the people, however, it was only a complicated and vicious system of the most debasing idolatry. Such indeed, more or less, are all false religions, and probably no religion was ever less influential in its moral influence on the people by whom it was received and believed, than that elder child of Egyptian mythology, the creed of ancient Greece, to which we owe so much of her sublime poetry, and of her matchless sculpture.
The characteristics and the results of Egyptian mythology, form perhaps the most remarkable of all the commentaries history preserves to us on the vanity of every human system of expiation for sin, or of enforced virtue.
Strange race of men! more anxious to prepare
Such is the poet's idea of the ancient Egyptians, but
the moralist beholds in them the remarkable example of a people, believing in a doctrine of divine retribution, surrounded even at their feasts, and in their kings' palaces, with the mementos of death, and yet living in the grossest sensuality, the evidences of which remain pictured on the walls of the very temples, where also is recorded the sublime but vain doctrine of the awful balance and the judgment of Osiris.
HISTORICAL VALUE OF EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES.
Speak, silent witnesses from ages past,
A Much larger portion of this volume has been devoted to the consideration of Egyptian antiquities than has been deemed necessary for those of Babylon and Nineveh, or even of Jerusalem. The propriety of this can hardly fail to be apparent to every reader. The place which Egypt occupies in the world's history is altogether remarkable and unparalleled. In one important respect it stands alongside of Jerusalem, while in its influence on the earlier nations that established the great empires of the world, it stands alone, extending its wonderful teachings on every hand, centuries before the summit of Mount Moria, on which the church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem is now affirmed to stand, had borne another structure than the wild thicket, in which the typical ram was caught which the patriarch sacrificed instead of his son.
Egypt was the secular, and Jerusalem the religious, teacher of the world. Jerusalem has triumphed at length. The divine Teacher hath sent forth his disciples to all the earth, commissioned to make known the lessons which he taught to every creature. The words of his mouth have free course. He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. Not so of Egypt and her teachings. Their influence was great ere Jerusalem was builded on her sacred hills. India, it is not improbable, learned from her its first lessons of knowledge of symbolic myth, and of error. Babylon and Assyria drank deeply from her strange fountains, and Greece and Rome received from thence the vivifying well-spring from whence was watered and nourished the strange but most poetical mythology which animated the dramas of Æschylus, and the fancies of Homer and Virgil. But all this has for ever passed away. Egyptian mythology is dead and vanished as the leaves of long-forgotten summers, that have decayed and decomposed into the incumbent earth. It is only as a key to a state of things as utterly passed away as the world before the flood, that we turn to its study; but as such it is invaluable. It reveals to us how men thought and acted, by what hopes and fears they were influenced, how they lived and how they died, in those old centuries when the fathers of the Hebrew race were dwelling in tents amid their flocks, or struggling in strange conflict with the accursed children of Canaan.
The investigations into a field of research which promises such results, cannot fail to attract the most earnest attention. There is something extremely fascinating to the intelligent mind in the study of a branch of antiquities which seems to bring us into familiar contact with events and occurrences that happened contemporaneously with
those which have been revealed to us only in connexion with the solemn and commanding disclosures of the inspired Scriptures. Glancing over the chronological tables of Wilkinson, we follow down from Menes and Athothis, bis son,-rulers, it may be, contemporary with, or perhaps even prior to the founders of Babel and Nineveh ; to Suphis, the builder of the great pyramid; to Aphoph, under whom Abraham is supposed to have visited Egypt, when the beauty of Sarai won the favour of Pharaoh. After a considerable interval, fainiliar to us in many ways by the sacred narrative, we are next attracted by the events of the reign of Osirtasen I., under whom it seems most probable that Joseph was called from his dungeon to the position of honour and influence, by means of which we obtain so remarkable a glimpse of the internal economy of this singular land. Wilkinson remarks :
" The accession of the first Osirtasen I conceive to date about the year 1740 B. C., and the length of his reign must have exceeded forty-three years. If the name of this monarch was not ennobled by military exploits equal to those of the Remeses, the encouragement given to the arts of peace, and the flourishing state of Egypt during his rule, evince his wisdom; and his pacific character satisfac. torily accords with that of the Pharaoh, who so generously rewarded the talents and fidelity of a Hebrew stranger.
“Some insight into Egyptian customs during his reign is derived from the story of Joseph, with whom I suppose him to have been coeval; and the objects taken thither by the Ishmaelites, consisting in spices, balm, and myrrh, which were intended for the purposes of luxury as well as of religion; the subsequent mention of the officers of Pharaoh's household; the state allowed to Joseph; the portion of lands allotted to the priesthood, and other similar institutions and customs—tend to show the advanced state of society at this early epoch."